Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

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The engraving celebrates the peace treaties of 1801 and 1802. The lack of perspective in this image reflects the vision that Napoleon wanted the French to have when they thought about his actions. Making peace proved to be one of Napoleon’s more…

This painting of the period by Gillaume Guillon Lethière shows the emotion caused by the prospect of loved ones departing for the army. Women had to part with their families in order to support the nation in its time of need. Notice the female…

In this watercolor of the Festival of the Supreme Being, we see a procession that includes a woman wearing a Phrygian cap paraded past a statue of Hercules holding two smaller statues of Liberty and Equality, towards a Liberty tree, atop the hill. In…

This piece of crockery further demonstrates the sentiments of social unity so prevalent at the Festival of Federation. The crossed sword, pike, clerical staff, and bonnet symbolize the union of the nobility, peasants, clergy, and workers,…

A similar emphasis on patriotic unity can be seen in Jean Renoir’s film, La Marseillaise (1938). The movie tells the story of France’s national anthem, composed by Rouget de Lisle as a way to rally the troops. The song, written for soldiers from…

In this extraordinary painting stands a formidable and powerful figure of liberty with her pike and cap. As the title of this work suggests, Liberty appears here as a warrior surveying the field of battle from a commanding height. Furthermore, the…

The Phrygian cap seems to be everywhere during the Revolution.

Female revolutionary figures stood for all kinds of qualities and virtues, in this case, "Truth." Women figures appeared so prominently in paintings and engravings because French nouns for the qualities and virtues were usually feminine (Truth = La…

In this celebration of national unity, the focus on 1789 is quite apparent. The Phrygian cap at the top of the decorations recalled the Revolution, as did the date for this celebration. Of course, both symbol and date had been used and appropriated…

Under the monarchy, the king was the country’s symbolic center. Removing him and establishing a republic made necessary not only a new constitution but also a new set of symbols. Here the revolutionaries transformed "Liberty" into "the Republic."…
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